What would you do if the county you’d lived in and loved for many decades was ranked the least healthy county in your state for three years running? What if just days after this year’s Rankings release Reuter News Service began investigating why your county has the highest rate of prescription drug deaths in a six county area? This is the situation faced by the people of Scott County, Indiana. It would be understandable if their response was to give up in frustration, but that’s far from the reality.
Located in the beautiful rolling hills of southeastern Indiana, Scott County has suffered from decades of generational poverty with all its associated problems: isolation, depression, poor diet, tobacco use, colorectal cancer, child abuse, teen pregnancy. According to the 2012 County Health Rankings the rate of premature death in Scott County is much higher than the state average. “We die too young here and people don’t feel well,” says Carolyn King, Scott County Health Outcomes Task Chair for the Scott County Partnership. But a passionate group of people from every sector has been working together to turn things around and they’re in it for the long haul.
“People care deeply here. The level of partnership and collaboration is exceptional,” King said.